tv Weekends With Alex Witt MSNBC December 15, 2012 9:00am-11:00am PST
i'm alex witt. it is a day of questions and fresh insight about the sandy hook elementary school shooting. there is information about the gunman, how he entered the school and killed 20 children and six adults before he killed himself. >> we have established the point of entry. it's believed he was not voluntarily let into the school at all. that he forced his way into the school. but that's as far as we can go on that. >> in a moment, chris janzen in connecticut with more on that news conference. first compelling new information about the shooter and what he did in the days before the attack. nbc's pete williams is in washington. pete with a good day, what have you learned? >> reporter: alex, the connecticut authorities have not yet formally identified the gunman, but we're been told and i think it's widely known it's adam lanza is his name, 20 years old who was living with his mother. they say the shooting actually began that morning about three miles from the school at the home where he was living with his mother, that he shot her then drove her car to the school. now we're told that he had
actually four handguns when he entered the school. we had known about the first two. they say there were two others that were found. and then he also had a rifle that was not brought into the school we're told by several officials, that it was left in the car, and that all these weapons were legally purchased by his parents. although officials say on tuesday of this past week adam lanza went to a sporting goods store in connecticut and tried to buy a rifle but was turned down for various reasons, because of the connecticut firearm restrictions laws. now the other thing is of course the big question is why. why did he target the school? i think initially everyone's thought was based on what we had heard yesterday, the supposition was that his mother taught at that school. the school officials today say no, she was never a full-time teacher, although it's possible that she was either a volunteer or a substitute. but in any event, what we're told is that the day before the shooting, on the 13th of
december, adam lanza went to the school and got into what is described as an altercation with four staff members who worked at the school, four of the adults at the school. they say three of those people were killed in the shooting yesterday. the fourth happened to be not in school yesterday, was there for the altercation but not in school yesterday. we're told that they're interviewing that fourth person to try to learn more about what that altercation was about. at this point we don't know what the subject was. we don't know why he went to the school, what the subject of the altercation was. so that's still the big question. the authorities did say at their news conference this morning that when they searched the mother's house and in their other investigative work they found what they've called promising evidence that they believe will shed additional light on his motive but not yet disclosed what that is. >> pete i'd like you to his
within me to what lieutenant colonel paul vance had to say about the questions regarding how adam lanza gained access. we're going to play that later. with regard to what you said about that, pete, so he had been to that school with an altercation. so the story that he was buzzed in would be all together unlikely, and in fact is definitively not true now? >> reporter: well, two defrl days we're talking about. it may be that when he went there on thursday that he was buzzed in. but what the authorities are saying on friday, yesterday, the day of the shooting when he went there heavily armed, wearing all black, carrying at least these four handguns, that he was not buzzed in, that they said he forced his way in. initially i think the police suspected that what he did was he fired a number of rounds at the glass window near the door, and that enabled him to open the door that would normally have to be opened by someone pressing a buzzer that would release the
door lock. we don't know. that was their initial supposition. they seemed to be backing off that at the news conference today. in any event, however he did it, they say he was not buzzed, in that he forced his way in. >> and pete, they have not yet released the names of all the victims. but can you confirm that they indeed have identified everyone? >> reporter: they say that they're nearly done with that, that they wanted to do a couple of other checks involving the medical examiner. but it does seem like they're well along in that process and informing the next of kin, yes. >> nbc's pete williams in washington. pete, many thanks. >> reporter: you bet. >> let's go to newtown, connecticut and msnbc's chris jansing. do you know who is going to be at the news conference and what we can expect? >> reporter: any minute we are expecting the school superintendent here who may be able to shed some more light on the altercation you just heard pete talking about. also about the question of
entry, what happened inside that school, about reports that either accidentally or coincidentally there was the intercom system that was left open which warned some people and they have prevented even more loss of life and about the exact status of the shooter's mother at the school. as she said she doesn't seem to be on any roster, not a full-time teach but may have been a substitute or a volunteer teacher. so that people are starting to gather again. that is going to happen as well. to the question of motive, obviously this the key question everyone is asking. why? why would you open fire in a classroom full of little kids? even if there wasn't an altercation with adults, why these children. and we did get an indication from lieutenant vance, who is the chief spokesman for the state police, the leads on this investigation earlier today at a news conference, that looking at things both places both at the home where the shooter's mother died and at the school, the main
crime scene, they are getting some clues. let me play that for you now. >> our investigators at the crime scene, the school, and seco secondarily at the second crime scene we discussed where the woman is deceased did produce some very good evidence in this investigation that our investigators will be able to use in hopefully painting the complete picture as to how and more importantly why this occurred. >> reporter: and so we are expecting more information, but the main piece of information that we expect to get today is that list of the victims to be officially identified, as well as whatever information we get at this press conference. in the meantime, alex, i should tell you this community continues to come together. we spoke to the folks at the local synagogue. they held a service today. just a few minutes ago the local episcopal church was planning to hold a memorial service. and then later tonight an already scheduled live that
tiffity tif nativity at the catholic church will be dedicated to the victims. the monsignor told me he expects to hold six funerals today. one of the little girls they wilburry in this community was scheduled to play an angel in the pageant at christmas eve mass. alex? >> chris may i ask you you're there on the scene, i can tell you as you experienced here yesterday, there's a really somber air here. and i think even the news media is in shock. do you find that to be the case because of the innocence lost and just the horrific nature of this story, that even out there it's the same feeling? >> reporter: there is as i've described it a heaviness. i've been at so many of these, too many, obviously, of these locations starting at columbine and going up onto the present. and just recently obviously i was in aurora at the movie theater shooting. i was in gabby gifford's
hometown when all of that transpired. but there is something about five and six-year-olds. we know that one of the major scenes there was a kindergarten classroom. something about that that has touched so many people. not just here but around the world. i have been surprised to see the way the media has come here from china, from japan, from canada, from russia. when i first came on the scene i actually heard more people speaking foreign languages than i heard english. so this is something that people are struggling to understand. but of course, no more so than in this community that woke up this morning to a completely changed way of life. nobody ever obviously expects this to happen. but so close to christmas, so many people, considering this a time of celebration and the young, the young young people who were 20 of the victims here >> yes. and i think that is what has resonated throughout the world. you mention all the international reaction.
i'm looking at a number of things to include, the most recent communique from the yemeni president to president obama expressing his condolences. so truly all corners of the world have been touched by this tragedy. chris jansing, many thanks. >> thanks, alex. earlier this morning i spoke with monsignor robert weiss. he tells us what the parents's lives are like now. >> it's unimaginable, the grief that these people are feeling. you send your children to school. you send your wife to work. and you just assume it's going to be another day. you would never imagine in just a few short hours life is going to change forever for these people. i give them a great deal of credit for their faith and the way this community has come together to be a support and consolation for each other. last night this vigil at our church was just overwhelming. and i think there were probably as many people outside as there were inside. we opened the windows so people could just hear and feel they could be part of it.
it's time for us to come together, even though it's in this christmas season. >> you know, you're not immune from this pain because it's been reported that you baptized some of these children that were killed. >> i did. many of the families are parishioners of ours. some of these children went to our preschool program. some of them are enrolled in our religious formation program. some preparing for their first holy communion. we had one little girl who was going to be an angel in our christmas pageant at christmas eve mass. so it's very close to home for me. >> how do you help in particular the children to recover from something like this? i know you can talk to parents and you can reason with them and you can help afford them a sense of faith about all of this. but children, what do you do with them? >> you know, yesterday i was asked to tell an older brother that his sister had died. and i sat there with him. and the first thing he said was, my best friend is gone.
who am i going to play with? and i try to console him and say, you know, you'll have other friends. he says i'll never have another friend like my sister. it's going to take a long time. i was with a family yesterday who said their son had just asked about dying the day before. she couldn't understand why. and just reminded him that when we finish this life on earth that there is a better life for us and that we're with god and we're safe. so the faith of these people is coming through even in this time of great anguish. >> monsignor robert weiss there. no know. was left by the gunman. we're ask a criminologist about what that means. plus we are waiting for a news conference at any minute from the superintendent of schools. that expected after this break.
>> i didn't know where she was. it was the happiest moment of my life when i saw she was okay and her little friends, all her little friends were okay in her class. >> a grateful but emotional mother with her daughter outside that school yesterday, something that's very hard for any mother to listen to in this country. i want to let you know we are waiting a news conference. it's scheduled to start there outside the municipal building. it will have the superintendent of schools, janet robinson, talking to the media. we hope she'll be able to answer many of the questions about the shooting in sandy hook elementary school. we are learning details about the gunman, 20-year-old adam lanza, described as brilliant but remote. officials say he may have suffereded from a personality disorder. i'm joined now by criminologist james fox who returns to the set. thank you for coming back. >> certainly. >> nbc's pete williams was reporting there was some sort of an altercation in the couple of days leading up to this horrific attack. he had an altercation with staff members. this is a 20-year-old.
there are no records of him having attended this school. what is that about? >> i don't know the nature of the altercation. but clearly we see time and time again a certain precip can't that sets off a mass murder. these are individuals who are socially isolated, and that fits perfectly, who are frustrated with life. and they blame other people for their probts. but there has to be that certain precipitating event, which could be this altercation, actually could even be another event we see elsewhere in the news that becomes the catalyst. >> described as being brilliant but remote, it is very similar to the description of the aurora, colorado movie theater shooter who was work on a ph.d before dropping out of classes. is there any connection there? i mean, you certainly don't want to paint all brilliant people. but you wonder how in the world someone with a level of brilliance attached to him or her could fall apart like that. >> well, his brilliance may be related to his social
awkwardness and his isolation. it's the isolation that's important, not his intelligence. there are mass murderers who are brilliant and there have been mass murderers, many, who are dropouts. so let's not think that this is a warning sign. it certainly is not. it's the isolation. it's a loneliness, the awkwardness, that means he doesn't have close people near him to help him get through the hard times. he doesn't have people to share his issues and problems with. he doesn't have others around him to help him get perspective of what he's feeling and thinking. >> then again we should say the brilliance has been identified by people who knew him. of course we don't have iq tests to compare this. to however, with regard to a motive, no sort of manifesto or note at this point the police say was found. what does that tell you if it ends up there was nothing left? >> most mass murderers do not leave notes behind. some have done that and some have sent letters to the press before their rampages, some have made videos explaining to the
world what they were going to do so the world doesn't misunderstand them. and they don't get mistreated in the press. but for someone who's isolated like this, for someone who's quiet and reserved and shy, it would not be his style to wish to communicate to the world because he wasn't particularly good at communicating. >> there are people who describe the family, the lanza family, and his mother in particular, the late nancy lanza, and said that she was very kind, a very dutiful mother. and that she would not have hesitated to seek help for her son if she thought he had a mental disorder. at what point should people view their children in a light that says to them, we need to get some help? >> well, we shouldn't have parents thinking that their troubled children are future mass murderers. that would be a mistake. >> of course. >> labelling them in that way. obviously if your child has issues, social issues, psychological issues, anyone in their right mind would seek
help. one of the problems however for mass murderers, the people who really act the extreme at the fringe, they don't see they have a problem. they think the world is the problem. everybody else has an issue but they are on the right side. they feel like they're victims of injustice. so if you offer them psychological counselling they generally won't take it. those who will indeed accept your offer of counselling, they're not the problem. these guys externalize blame. it's everybody else's fault, not theirs. >> i have one more question to ask you, and that's regard to this book that you wrote which i think everyone you'll take a look at it in light of today. the title here "violence and security on campus from preschool through college." it's horrific that there's enough information that allows you to write a book like this. but what is it about an educational environment that you think attracts people to commit these crimes? >> well, many of these cases it's the students themselves who are bitter and angry at
classmates, at teachers. and they want to get even. there are some cases like this where an adult sees a school yard as an opportunity, a way to hurt society where it hurts the most. it's where a bunch of kids congregate, our most cherished members of society. so we have seen unfortunately that schools as well as other locations are prime targets for those who want to get even with society. and boy, he surely did. >> yeah. criminologist james fox, many thanks for your insights. >> so what's being done to help the families of the victims? you'll hear from a state senator from connecticut next. you ever notice that some people just have a knack for giving the perfect gift? they put real thought into it. and find just... the right...thing. how do they do that?
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is recovered at home after suffering a concussion. she had been ill. she had fainted as a result of that, did get a concussion though she is recovering at home right now. we're not certain where the incident happened. nbc's andrea mitchell is trying to find all those details. once we get more information we will pass that along to you. the good news is, though, that our secretary of state is at home recovering from a concussion due to a fall. we're going to get more now on the aftermath of the deadly school shooting in connecticut. joining me now is connecticut state senator tony bouchet. welcome to you. thank you for being here. >> thank you, alex. >> so you try to put words to describe this tragedy and its magnitude. it seems absolutely impossible to do so. but how is the community there coping? >> well, i must tell you that this massacre of innocent children is really a parent's and a school system's worst nightmare. the children and the staff, really the parents, were incredibly courageous. and i would say even heroic in
the face of such violence. and our communities and our state and our country responded immediately with broken hearts and grief. and everywhere i go i found even last night very late at the grocery store there were hushed voices. there was pain on people's faces. it reminded me a great deal of september 11th. many hugged me with tears in their eyes, especially young parents. they were very concerned about their children. just did not affect the individuals directly but it affected our entire communities and our state. and newtown needs to know that they're not alone, and that they have support throughout the state. and i know that the very person that probably could have helped them the most was one of those courageous individuals that perished at sandy hook elementary school. the school counselor. and as well as there are a lot of resources in the community at the state level that are coming forward to help the children affected, the parents affected, the community in general. and we can't forget the first
responders. >> oh, of course. and that is something because describe the first responders in that town. i mean, newtown is known to be a very close-knit community. so these are people that went in and may see their next-door neighbor's child or a relative, correct? >> absolutely. in fact, it's well-known that this was considered one of the safest communities in america. it is a typical of a lot of the communities that i represent here in lower fairfield county and the upper part. they're very close-knit. they do everything together. they're family other fented. their activities are together. their social network really are the children's parents and their friends. and this truly is affected everyone in such a profound way. i can't even begin to tell you. so that when these first responders come to the scene, they are their neighbors, they are their children's play mates. so it is incredibly devastating. and i think they were going to need some support as well. >> well, connecticut state
senator toni boucher. thank you very much. i appreciate your insights. we have an update now from nbc's andrea mitchell on that news about our secretary of state having fallen and gotten a concussion. andrea what do you know? >> reporter: what we know is from philippe wains her top deputy secretary of state, she's been suffering from a stomach virus since a trip about ten days ago. she had been home and apparently became dehydrated and fainted, according to raines, and sustained a concussion. he says that she's been recovering at home. she'll continue to be monitored regularly by her doctors. and at their recommendation, according to raines, the state department official, she will continue to work from home next week, staying in regular contact with the department and other officials and is looking forward to being back in the office as soon as possible. this is quite extraordinary. because the secretary as you know works nonstop, has traveled more than anyone else, and had come home from a very difficult trip and then very unexpectedly
postponed last monday a trip that she was supposed to take to marakesh until tuesday. on tuesday we were told in fact she would be not taking the trip, that she was sufferinging from a stomach virus, and would be replaced on that important trip with the syrian opposition leaders by the deputy secretary of state, william burns, a career diplomat. she stayed home all week. and in the interim, of course, we've been told they have been reviewing and updating the benghazi report. that report was supposed to come out, come to her this week. she was supposed to testify at two very high profile hearings, senate and house hearings on the benghazi investigation this coming thursday. now obviously that is not going to take placement whether they have that hearing and have someone substitute for her is another question. but she is going to remain home all week. and apparently fell and suffered a concussion as a result of her dehydration from this stomach virus. alex? >> andrea, so you described her, she has a work horse ethic. i'm sure saturday at the office
is not unique to her. so you can confirm she was not at the office, she was at home when this accident happened? >> reporter: yes. that she has been home according to the state department, she's been home since she returned from that trip about a week ago. and then did not depart again, i think she returned friday night from overseas, was supposed to leave again on monday. we all saw her last at the kennedy -- before that trip at the kennedy honors on december 1st when she was the host at the state department. obviously very high profile event. then she had the plans to leave again last monday. and did not. and has been home all week. so we don't know whether she during this period has had any hospitalization, whether there's been any other treatment. but we've only been told that she's been home and we have not seen hillary clinton for about a week. >> all right, well, nbc's andrea mitchell providing the context as you always do to this
developing story. thank you so much, andrea. >> reporter: you bet, alex. new reaction from the president today to the school shooting. we have a live report next. i have a cold, and i took nyquil, but i'm still stubbed up. [ male announcer ] truth is, nyquil doesn't unstuff your nose. what? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus liquid gels speeds relief to your worst cold symptoms plus has a decongestant for your stuffy nose. thanks. that's the cold truth!
welcome back to "weekends with alex witt" at 33 past the hour. we have new details in the deadly elementary school shooting in connecticut. police say the gunman who killed 20 children and six adults at that school forced his way into the building. he was not voluntarily let inside. >> we still have major crime detectives, newtown detectives working at the scene in the school. that is not completed. that probably will not be completed for at least another day and a half to two days. and i'm putting a time limit on it. it could take longer. >> nbc's pete williams has learned some new information about the 20-year-old man, adam lanza. on december 13th, lanza went to
that elementary school and got into some kind of altercation with staff members. meantime, the community of newtown is in mourning, some are wearing black ribbons to honor those who died. the local fire house in newtown is also displaying a black ribbon. many in that fire house responded to the scene as the tragedy unfolded on friday. let's go to newtown. that's where msnbc's chris jansing is standing by. so chris, i know we await another news conference. they have been very methodical and precise about the information they are giving out that. first news conference was delayed significantly. you expect that's the reasoning for this one as well? the delay? >> reporter: obviously they want to be very careful. they want to make sure all the information they give out is correct. but senator blumenthal has arrived on the scene. so that would give us an indication that this news conference may get under way fairly quickly. we haven't seen superintendent robinson yet. obviously one of the questions that we want to ask is about the
alterercation that pete williams reported as a possible motive or at least one part of the motive for this horrible shooting that has devastated this community. i can also tell you that governor malloy has been meeting with the families today. you can only imagine they got the final confirmation late yesterday. and we are still waiting for that list of names. and governor malloy was in that room when those parents were notified along with members of the clergy. the governor is going to be holding a news conference, we just learned, at 5:00 this afternoon. but we are waiting for these two things to happen. this news conference with the senator and the superintendent and the official release of the list of names of the 26 victims inside that school. alex? >> and chris with regards to the evidence they've gotten so far, what are the investigators saying? are they able to glean significant amounts of evidence from the crime scene? >> reporter: if they are they're holding it very close to the vest. this is a complicated scene. make no mistake about it.
first of all there are two crime scenes. one is where the mother of the shooter died. the second is at the school. and as the spokesman for state police told me yesterday, there are two main areas where the shootings took place. apparently one is the office, one is a kindergarten classroom right there. and then also outside, they literally go through every inch out there, all of the vehicles that were parked there. we know, for example, that the shooter took his mother's car and drove it. that's how he got to the school. and so this is a complicated investigation. you also had the horror of all those bodies. they had all to be obviously handled with great delicacy and great care. they've all been taken from the school. they are at the coroner's office now. but the one thing that we did get reference to at the press conference this morning is that there is some information that they have been learning a little bit to tell us how all of this
transpired. whether that came from computers, whether it came from written notes, whether it came from interviews. we don't know that yet. we may get more information as the day goes on, alex. >> okay, chris, we will have a camera trained right where you are. one things get under way we will go back there live and no doubt speak with you again. thank you. meantime as we look to washington the president spoke about the connecticut tragedy again this morning in his weekly address. >> as a nation, we have endured far too many of these tragedies in the last few years. an elementary school in newtown, a shopping mall in oregon, a house of worship in wisconsin, a movie theater in colorado, countless street corners and places like chicago and philadelphia. >> nbc's kristen welker is at the white house now. kristen with a hello to you. the president included that statement in his weekly address about the shootings today. but yesterday he offered quite an emotional reaction. >> reporter: it really was, alex.
it was one of the most emotional moments that we have ever seen from this president. he said that he was watching these horrific events unfold, not just as commander in chief but also as a father. so he said that he was mourning right along with the families in connecticut. the purpose of his message really to make the point that connecticut's tragedy is the nation's tragedy. here's a little bit more of what president obama had to say. and this is from yesterday. take a listen. >> i know there's not a parent in america who doesn't feel the same overwhelming grief that i do. the majority of those who died today were children. beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. they had their entire lives ahead of them, birthdays,
graduations, weddings, kids of their own. >> reporter: so the president pausing repeatedly to wipe away tears. but he wasn't just emotional and sad, alex. he was also resolved, it seemed. he said now is the time to take meaningful action regardless of the politics. what specifically does that mean we will have to wait for the coming days and weeks to find out. now in terms of the tick tock, i can tell you president obama was alerted about this at 10:30 a.m. by his national security adviser john brenan. he spent the rest of the morning and afternoon receiving updates on the situation. he reached out to fbi director robert muller, he also reached out to the governor of connecticut, dan malloy, not only to express his condolences you will abouts to make it clear the federal government will stand with connecticut not only emotionally but in terms of offering resources and other supports, alex. >> kristen will kerr at the white house. kristen, many thanks for that.
we want to let all of you know we're keeping an close eye on that scene there. it's where we expect the superintendent of the sandy hook public schools, janet robinson, to take the podium and address some of the questions about the unthinkable tragedy yesterday at the elementary school. we also may be hearing from the medical examiner so stay with us. you're watching "weekends with alex witt." for those with visions of doing this... ...this... ...and this, dancing in their heads... ...we have these. home depot gift cards. give the gift of doing, in-store or online. but when i was in an accident... i was worried the health care system spoke a language all its own with unitedhealthcare, i got help that fit my life. so i never missed a beat. that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare.
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this time will some solution finally come of it? joining me now is former white house deputy fres secretary tony fratto and msnbc contribute jimmy williams. i have to ask both of you, what was your initial reaction when you heard the news? i had the sense of how could this happen again. jimmy? >> it was here we go again. it was -- i was working in the senate in 1998 when that guy walked in and killed two u.s. capitol policemen. and i thought, i mean, how many times do we have to go through this? this is coming from a guy, by the way, that's from the south. this is coming from a guy that owns guns, that sit in my home unloaded. no kids in my house, just to be clear. this is coming from a guy they grew up in a household with guns that sat in a locked gun closet. i knew that if i went near them my father was going to beat the hell out of me. i knew it. but we are now at a tipping point. we are now at a stage where we are almost ten years after the
assault weapons ban has expired. if you need a 223, if you need an ak-47 to shoot bambi, you have bigger problems. you don't need those guns. you don't need them to go hunting. i get gun rights. i totally like gun rights. but you don't need those kinds of things. and you don't need crazy people being able to get them, either through their parents, through loopholes going through these gun shows, no background checks. >> internet sites. >> internet sites. it's ridiculous. way too many loopholes. way too many loopholes. >> tony, you worked in the white house. as deputy press secretary, the assault weapons ban, that expired eight years ago. how tough is the nra to deal with on these issues? i mean, talk about the power that the nra wields. >> look, i think actually the nra's power is more perceived than real, alex. when i heard the news yesterday and like jimmy, i grew up with a rifle. i grew up in pennsylvania.
we went hunting. we never had handguns around but we had a rifle in the house. and we used it for hunting. that was it. but i think a lot of us who were in the hunting community have much more tolerance for stricter regulation of the handguns and especially certain kinds of handguns than most people per sooechlt and i think you see that in the polling. when i heard the news yesterday as a father of two children who i send out to public school here in washington, d.c. every day, a city that has outlawed guns but still has a very high crime rate, and the husband of a public schoolteacher, i just wanted to see my wife and two kids as quickly as possible and hug them and know that they're okay. like all other parents, i think, in the country, including the president felt when we heard the news yesterday. >> well, i can echo that. i have two children and i hugged them both last night. all three of us were crying just at the loss of innocence and the
horrific nature of all of this. believe me, i couldn't get close enough to them. but jimmy, where do you think the tipping point is now? where is it that we might all come to agreement on this issue? >> i think the president's going to be strong on this issue. frankly there were grumblings prior to the campaign that were very quiet about the white house pushing a gun control agenda in his second term if he won. well, here we are. the question becomes, what happens in the house and what happens in the senate. let's talk about the senate. i've never worked in the house. i don't know how that chamber really works. but the senate is a different place. look at who's up for re-election. tony talked about the long hand of the nra, whether it's long or not. look who's up for re-election. rural states. max baucus. these are democrats, by the way. let's see, chris coons, kay hagen from north carolina, tim johnson from south dakota, mary landriue from louisiana.
mark pryor from arkansas. you have more than a handful of snam senate democrats who probably have decent relationships with the nra. i'm willing to bet five bucks right now the nra's lobbyists have already reached out to the staffers for these being re-elected. >> if there was a communitial sense of common sense here, that there is a level past which we do not need to go for certain kinds of guns. you don't need to have these guns. if everybody joined the chorus, i mean, could it be possible to get something done if common sense were to prevail here? >> look, i really want to believe that, alex. i want to be optimistic that we can get there. i think a lot of other people noted today and yesterday without taking any sense of the tragedy that happened in newtown away, we do see this tragedy and the president addressed it. we do see this tragedy repeated
on the streets of major american urban centers every day. so we talk about the horror of these parents. there's a horror that occurs in families every single day. and there are some very common sense kinds of rules and restrictions that we could at the very least i think agree on in terms of just access to certain kinds of handguns at a very minimum. and i think people like me, people on my side of the aisle, would support that. i think we can get there. >> but you know, tony, is this the tipping point? i mean, we're looking at 20 innocent young children. that seems to be, and jimmy is noting here, that seems to be the crux of the difference in what's happened heretofore and now. that you've got these little children as we all picture the carnage that went on in one of two classrooms and the innocence lost and the last moments of these children's lives.
is that a powerful enough image in our minds and the minds of our legislatures, to finally come to agreement? >> i hope so. i really hope it is. i mean, when we've had these tragedies in the past we're always noting and a lot of supporters of the second amendment will note on how these kinds of massacres are different. they're not really about gun control. i think they really are about in part about guns. it's true that they're different. but they are in part about guns. i think we have to admit that. but we do have to think about it as an everyday issue and an everyday tragedy in this countries and think about smart ways to prevent the kind of carnage that we see on our streets every day. the vast majority of people who i think oppose any kinds of restrictions on guns have never had to walk down the street and walk past the yellow tape and a chalk on the sidewalk. they've never had to deal with
it right within their local communities. even the conversation today about newtown where they say this is an incredibly safe community, a beautiful community. it's a place where people don't expect this kind of thing to happen. there's the acknowledgement that are there are other communities in our country right now where it is expected that this kind of thing is going to happen or at least happened in smaller numbers. but repeated with metronomic regularity every single day of the young people in our country. who by the way are killing each other. >> i want to make this point, which is i brought up the issue of the shooting in the u.s. capitol in 1998. you want to know how to get sensible gun legislation passed right now or in this congress? >> tell us. >> the safetst place in the entire country are the halls of congress, the u.s. capitol building because of that shooting. you can't walk in that place without cops being everywhere. capitol police walking through
magnotometers. bring children from every single member of congress from, their districts into that building and ask those children and their parents to go into the capitol building and say, we're safe here but we're not safe in our schools. how are you going to make a difference? that's how sensible gun control legislation can get passed. you want to make members of congress do something? guilt the living hell out of them. they'll do it. >> that sounds like an effective grassroots operation right there. okay. gentlemen, jimmy, tony, good to see you both. thank you. >> thanks, alex. the one question remains behind these murders, why? what could possibly be the motive for such a heinous attack? [ male announcer ] where do you turn for legal matters?
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joining me now in studio, clinical social worker jonathan fast, associate professor at yashiba university. with a welcome. we had a report from nbc's pete williams reports of an altercation. adam lanza went to that school, the sandy hook elementary school, the day before the massacre. what in your mind could be triggered by something like that? an altercation that would lead him to do what he did? >> well, i don't know about his history with the school, his relationship with the school. i'd be interested in that. i would imagine that he would have a history in the school and that the altercation would set off this anger, this tantrum. but of course this is a lot of anger that's been building up over a long period of time. but the kind of anger that would make someone go out and murder school children, five-year-olds, six-year-olds? >> my guess is that he had
planned to commit suicide, that he had been so damaged by his early life that he felt no -- that there was no sense in continuing. and then once he had decided to commit suicide, he was free of consequences. and then he could deal with this rage that he had from what he perceived as being mistreated by life, probably, and the expression of this rage was to kill his mother. and then to continue over to the school for reasons that we don't know exactly and to go in and shoot these children, blind with rage and very little empathy. >> there are those who describe him as being very remote and in that style of goth, which is something that we frequently hear. what is that connection? >> in school, school is sort of like a cartoon of real life, high school if you recall. and there are social strainings that go on.
so some people arrive at the very highest level of the ladder and they're usually football players and cheerleaders. and then at lower levels of the ladder you might have people in the chess club or people with academic pursuits. and so you get sort of sifted down. and at the very bottom are the goths. so since everyone needs some kind of companionship in high school, these shooters typically join the goths. although even in those groups they feel like outsiders. >> well, jonathan fast, there's a lot more to learn about adam lanza and the reasons behind this massacre. but we thank you very much for your insights at yashiba university. new information from the investigators about what the gunman did in the days before connecticut school tragedy as we await a news conference here on "weekends with alex witt." we'll be right back. mpanies? yes. but you're progressive, and they're them. yes. but they're here. yes. are you...? there? yes. no. are you them? i'm me. but those rates are for... them. so them are here. yes!
massacre. welcome back, everyone, to "weekends with alex witt." we await a news conference any moment now from the school superintendent. police held a briefing earlier today, saying the gunman forced his way into the school friday morning. he was not let in voluntarily. 20 children and six adults were killed at the school after 20-year-old adam lanza opened fire. police say they expect to release the names of those who died soon. >> the victims have been positively identified by the chief medical examiner. they're still in the process of doing some of their work. as soon as that work is completed we will be prepared to release in writing to you a for theal list of names, birth dates and information. >> meantime many residents of newtown say they are numb. the community has set up a memorial with individuals leaving flowers and candles as they commune together. let's go to nbc's chris jansing
who's standing by live for us in newtown, connecticut, as we all await this news conference. of course we're eager to get more news. any idea the substance of which they are going to be sharing? >> i think you've covered a lot of it, the things that we are waiting for. i just saw the senator elect chris murphy arrive here. we had seen richard blumenthal earlier. we're waiting for the superintendent of schools. certainly one of the things that we are wondering if we will get is the official list of the names of the victims. also any more information that might be available on the reported altercation that happened the day before the shooting on thursday the shooter reportedly went into the elementary school and had some sort of confrontation with four members of the staff, four people who worked at that school. three of them were there on friday and none of them survived. so we're just waiting to see exactly who will show up and what time. part of the delay, and we saw this this morning when there was
more than a two-hour delay on the original press conference with police officials, they are putting the families first. they want to make sure any information that comes out gets to them first. they have assigned each of them a state trooper, in part as a security measure to give them some sense of security. remember a lot of these little kids who were so horribly taken from us have little brothers and sisters themselves. so it helps perhaps to give those families a little sense of security that they've lost. but also as a lee liason to mak any questions they have get to them before they might hear them some other way, either through the media or through a friend who heard it through the media, alex. >> okay. chris i know you'll give us a heads up and we'll get back to that nmpbs when it gets under way. elsewhere in the sandy hook
region, we go to nbc national investigator michael isakoff. we're at the home of nancy lanza. michael i know you have a lot of information to get to. let's first of all talk about this altercation. can you describe what officials are saying about what happened at sandy hook elementary school before the carnage friday? >> reporter: we don't know precisely what it is. as pete williams has reported, thursday, the day before the shooting adam lanza had gone to the school, gotten into a altercation with three staff members there. there was a fourth one. we understand he was also looking for. but that person was not there. now one thing that i've been told from law enforcement sources just shortly is that investigators are looking at whether adam lanza and his mother, but adam lanza in particular, had an affiliation with the school, had some connection. it was unclear whether he had
been trying to get a job there or perhaps done some volunteer work. all that has not been established by now at the moment. but it is something investigators are looking at and could explain this altercation that has been reported. we also know that just a couple of days before on tuesday he had gone to a dick's sporting goods story in danbury and tried to buy a rifle and was turned down because of a waiting period in connecticut. apparently adam lanza did not want to wait to get that gun, and so therefore the purchase was never made. a couple of other just interesting points that we are learning today. we did talk to a friend of nancy lanza's. nancy lanza lives in one of these homes behind us. they have the neighborhood blocked off at this moment. but said she was -- a friend
tells us she was very disturbeded about the behavior of her son, very concerned about his mental health and very protective of him. and also the friend has disclosed we do know that she owned the weapons that were used to kill those children and her, and she apparently was an avid gun collector, very passionate about shooting. enjoyed to go to local shooting ranges and even took her children there. so that's an aspect of this that i think people are going to want to learn more about. >> absolutely. and with regard to the weapons, michael, didn't they find some weapons still in the car? i mean, he didn't take everything with him inside that school, right? >> right. we understand that there were at least, two maybe three handguns that he had with him. semiautomatic handguns, a glock, a sig sauer. there also may have been an assault-style rifle in the car.
but that was not used in the shooting. can i just say one other thing alex about this neighborhood that is striking, because i just got here a little while ago. as you can see, it's a very affluent neighborhood. this is -- the homes are quite large. the lots are quite large. and adam lanza's father, who was divorced from his mother, but he was the -- he had lived with his father and mother originally in one of these homes behind him, was a very established corporate executive. he was a vice president of g.e. financial services and the tax director for that division of g.e. so we often hear a lot about how the perpetrators of crime come from underprivileged backgrounds. that was clearly not the case here. this is a well-off, affluent neighborhood. and he grew up in this environment. >> that is a very interesting nugget you shared with us in
addition to everything else. michael isakoff, thank you so much. joining me now is cliff van zant, nbc analyst and fbi profiler. oh, clint welcome but we always get together under these kinds of circumstances. >> one more time, alex. good to see you, bad situation. >> we do not have confirmation of reports that 20-year-old adam lanza was suffering from a personality disorder. but what can you tell us about that? the circumstances under which he would be identified as that? >> well, we've got to watch this, too. if there is a personality disorder, some have suggested that he suffered from -- he was autistic. we know that if you're autistic there's no link between autism and violence. but he's been described as autistic. i'm reading here alex. a family insider described him as a deeply disturbed kid. somebody else said he had a condition where he couldn't feel pain.
and they had to be very careful what he was involved in. because if he hurt himself he didn't realize it because of the lack of pain. one wonder, alex, if that physical pain now runs into the emotional pain. otherwise how are you able to commit this horrific act? >> yes. and interestingly, michael isakoff just pointed out he came from a very well-to-do family in an affluent neighborhood. one would presume if he needed to have some sort of counselling they would have had the financial resources to provide that for him. >> sure. >> that is different than commonly what we hear about those that are loners and remote and they had some troubled backgrounds. does anything about this bust out of the profile? or can you even place a profile on someone who goes and kills, murders children? >> well, that takes it beyond reason, alex. you know, as i said yesterday on msnbc there are two taboos that almost all societies agree upon. number one is that you don't
kill your mother. the second is that you don't kill little children. this guy crossed both those lines. now whatever the reason this altercation that we heard that took place on thursday, there was an element of planning, alex. he had to -- even though his mother had the weapons he had to have done either through gaming or through a firearms range, his practice, he had to assimilate the clothing. he had to have the multiple magazines, the planning. there was a lot that went into this. so this is not somebody that snapped. this is somebody who has perhaps long-term emotional, physical, psychological problems that may or may not have gone unaddressed, alex. but what we know -- and you know, a picture i cannot get out of my mind. i was laying awake at 2:00 a.m. this morning, alex. is parents taking car seats out of the back of their car because their child is -- because their
child is dead and they can't use the car seat anymore. and parents taking presents out from under a tree because that child is no longer there to give the present to. when you think of that level of carnage and that level of loss and we try to attribute it to another human being, it is just almost impossible to do. >> yep, it is, clint. i'm going to ask you to just stay where you are. we're going to keep you on stand by because we do expect that news conference to get under way shortly. so do stay with us and help us interpret all that. we also have another breaking story to tell you about this. one involving secretary of state hillary clinton. we'll have that after the break. also the news conference. stay with us, everyone. you're watching "weekends with alex witt." questions?
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16 past the hour with another breaking story this hour involving secretary of state hillary clinton who is recovering at home right now after suffering a fall and a concussion. let's go to the white house. nbc's kristen welker is standing by with the latest on this. kristen, when did this happen? do you know the circumstances here? >> reporter: we're just learning that according to a senior administration official this happened days ago. they're not releasing the exact date right now. just for a little bit of context, secretary of state hillary clinton recently traveled a trip overseas -- cancelled a trip overseas rather because she had a stomach virus. she wasn't feeling well. i'm told according to state department officials earlier this week she became dehydrated, she fainted, she suffered a concussion. they also say she is now at home, resting, recovering, she's being monitored by doctors. and of course she is in close contact with her colleagues at the state department. they say that she should be returning to work soon. now, the secretary was scheduled
to testify at a congressional hearing this thursday about the attack the september 11th attack against the u.s. consulate in benghazi. it doesn't appear that is going to happen at this point. again she is at home, she is recovering. so that will be put on hold. secretary of state hillary clinton is of course set to leave her post. she will -- there's a lot of speculation about what's going to happen once she does that. will she run for president in 2016. i've been talking to a lot of people who are close to her, alex. they say her primary goal is really to rest. she is the most traveled secretary of state in u.s. history, having traveled to more than 100 countries. so again she did faint, suffer a concussion but she's at home, she is resting and she is being monitored by doctors. alex? >> okay, kristen welker, thank you for that update on our secretary of state. we appreciate that from the white house. let's go back now to connecticut and the developing information surrounding the shooting deaths of those 27 people at the newtown school. the location of this shooting
and the young age of so many of the victims have made it particularly difficult to wrap our heads around. joining me now is steve perry, host of tv's "save my son" also founding of the capitol preparatory magnet school. steve i'm glad you're here. we talk about schools. we as parents think that they're supposed to be sanctuaries for our kids. how did things get to this point and why? >> well, it's important that parents understand that over 65 million children went to a public school yesterday, and the overwhelming majority of them came home safely. your children are safe in schools. this was not a school shooting. this was a shooting that occurred at a school. this was a deranged individual who chose to kill people in a school, children and teachers. >> you make a good point. i have to say, steve, i've had a psychologist, a criminologist on the set here with me named james fox who authored a book which
talks about violence in schools from preschool through college. the fact is there is enough information to put together a book on this. what do you think it is about schools that appeals to the minds of disturbed people like this? they want to create carnage in this kind of a place. is it because it violates our presumed safety? >> well, it's impossible to understand someone who's deranged. this individual is deranged. and as a result he did some things that we find unspeakable, the worst massacre for me in our history. but i think what's most important, because so many of our children are watching, is to comfort them and let them know that on monday when they return we're going to love them as much as we did earlier in the week and we're going to do everything we can to make sure they feel safe and that they're educated and able to get back to basketball practice or gymnastics or whatever it was that they were doing before this horrific time. >> steve, we have seen relatively high security at city schools. do you think that is going to have to extend, though, across
this nation? even to the more rural areas? for let's face it, you've just said it. you can't get into the mind of a deranged person. so are we obliged as a society to put our kids safely behind locks and chains? >> well, this school was locked. he had four weapons. the faculty and staff did everything that could ever be imagined under the circumstances. i don't think you could have hired navy s.e.a.l.s to come in and do a better job. they did everything that they were trained and hoped to do. we locked the doors. they have cameras on them. we have security officers. in some cases we have full on police officers in larger schools they have police forces. this was a deranged individual. and he hurt us as a nation. but i think what's also important is to understand that from this tragedy we're going to see that we as a state and as a country are going to come together and make sure that the folks here in newtown get every single thing that we can provide them. we can't get them their children back. but we can let them know that they are loved and supported and
we're going to be there for them throughout the holidays and beyond. >> steve, what about the survivors? all the kids that heard and saw things that they will never forget. at what point does their ability to learn, their development, all of that suffer? i mean, can they ever get back to what they were? >> that's the tough part. that's the tough part. no one knows the impact of a tragedy on a child. and so that's one of the reasons why i focus so much on keeping their perspective high and their hopes high. because sometimes a simple disagreement between a child and a parent can spiral throughout that child's life if it's not planted in the foundation of a loving home. so this is a tragedy beyond the comprehension of adults. skilled professionals. i wish i could tell you there's one thing we could do and say that will make sure that these children are always going to feel safe and warm. but i don't know what that is. i do know that we're going to have to huddle around these children, not just we as the people here in connecticut but we as a nation are going to have
to huddle around them and make sure that we do everything possible to ease their path into adulthood. >> i appreciate your empathy and optimism, steve perry. thank you for talking with me. >> thank you. from the white house to the capitol and throughout these united states, flags are at half-staff in memory of the victims of yesterday's shootings. in just a moment we'll discuss whether this incident will convince the nation's lawmakers to finally address this issue. but i'm still "stubbed" up. [ male announcer ] truth is, nyquil doesn't unstuff your nose. what? [ male announcer ] it doesn't have a decongestant. no way. [ male announcer ] sorry. alka-seltzer plus fights your worst cold symptoms plus has a fast acting decongestant to relieve your stuffy nose. [ sighs ] thanks! [ male announcer ] you're welcome. that's the cold truth! [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus. ♪ oh what a relief it is! ♪ [ male announcer ] to learn more about the cold truth and save $1 visit alka-seltzer on facebook.
it's heart-breaking. i'm speechless. to even have something happen like this around here especially. it's always going to stay in this town. it's a small town. everybody's going to keep it in their head, the back of their head. even the little young ones. they're going to be even afraid to step in school now. >> that was one of the many sleepless residents in newtown who are still trying to cope with their raw emotions. joining us from newtown now is u.s. senator richard blumenthal who also served as the
connecticut state attorney general. senator blumenthal, thank you for joining us on this very difficult day. talk about the mindset of those in that area behind you in newtown and your hopes for how this town is going to move forward. >> i know this community well. and i've always admired its resoluteness and strength. and certainly it is demonstrating it in ways that is really extraordinary. and my heart goes out, my prayers to the victims and their families. but also this entire community. the fabric and fiber of the community is very intertwined. everybody knows everyone else. so the outpouring last night at the service, the vigil, was just very deep and strong. and the first responders who have to be with the families and break the news to them, escort them, console them, i think has been just amazing. and so here in newtown today
there's grief but there's also resoluteness and strength and determination to move on >> yes. and i understand the state is taking a step of assigning a state patrolman to each individual family affected by this tragedy so that they will not hear information from the news media or anything else. they will get it directly from officials and have that person stay with them through all of this. i want to ask you about the first thoughts that came to mind, sir, when you heard about the tragedy. >> the first thoughts, my first thoughts were really just shock, horror. and in a sense the denial that this kind of horrific incident could happen in a place like newtown, a state like connecticut. and then the dimensions of it. 20 young children as a parent of four children, it just defies words and comprehension. >> you know, you're in a privileged position, though.
because the average citizen may cry out and say, we need change. i as a member of the news media may use my microphone and camera to say, we need to do something about this. but you are an elected official that has access to the federal government and that can make a difference going forward. there's been so much dissension on the issue of gun control and related issues over the years. is this time tipping point, sir, where you think that everyone may come together and realize something needs to be done to prevent these types of tragedies from happening again? >> hard to say in the midst of this grief and this emotion on this day in newtown in connecticut. but there will be a conversation. there'll be a time for it. it has to come. i've spoken to my colleagues around the country who called me over the last 24 hours to express their sympathy. some of them from states where similar incidents have occurred.
colorado and other places around the country. so i think there will be a view again, and obviously the president's opened that conversation in what he said yesterday. but right now, my heart and my emotions are right here in newtown with these families. and i hope that when i go back to washington i'll have a chance to have that dialogue with my colleagues. >> and what are the citizens of newtown saying other than thanking you for your presence there and your emotional support by being there? what are they saying to you about the tragedy? is there still shock? do you think it has settled in the enormity of this tragedy? >> at some point, when the media depart and the attention sub sides, normalsy will come back. but this community has been really hurt deeply and maybe enduringly. but it's strong. it will come together and come back. and i have a lot of faith in
newtown and in connecticut. and there's a lot of faith and strength here and resoluteness. >> u.s. senator richard blumenthal there in the sandy hook area. thank you so much, sir, for your time here on msnbc. we appreciate it. >> thank you. >> for the first time we are hearing from a family member of the accused gunman. that is next as we continue our coverage of the attack on sandy hook elementary school here on "weekends with alex witt." [ sarah ] i thought, the red cross does katrina. they don't help single moms. hi! hi! [ sarah ] what happened to our house last year? [ daughters ] it flooded and the water flooded out. yeah. [ sarah ] the red cross arranged the hotel for us. they gave me that break, that leverage, to be able to get it together and take care of them. you know?
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in crystal lake, illinois. >> he was different. he was quiet. nice kid, good kid. he was different. a challenging family in that house. every family has one, i have one, they have one. but never in trouble with the law. never in trouble with anything. >> that was marcia lanza there. nbc's pete williams reports that investigators are looking into a report that someone went to sandy hook elementary school days before the shooting and then got into some kind of an altercation with staff members. investigators are looking into whether that person was indeed adam lanza. but police say that lanza forced his way into the school friday morning. he was not let inside voluntarily. we are also waiting for officials to release the names of those who died in the attack. that includes the 20 children and six adults killed at the school. i'm going to check in again with msnbc's chris jansing in newtown for us. so we are awaiting that news conference. any word on when that might happen or police releasing other information in advance of it, chris? >> reporter: well, we know
thought was scheduled for noon which was more than an hour and a half ago. now we're raising some questions about whether it will happen at all. this is the way it has been. you can imagine the confusion that is still going on as police are trying to piece together the information to make sure that what they talk about is correct. we did just as you saw hear from senator blumenthal. other officials have been around. but in terms of the actual investigation and releasing of the names, that is going to come from state police officials. they were expecting to brief every two hours. as you well know, alex, there's only been one briefing so far today. part of the complication is you have multiple crime scenes. within the school itself you have a couple of different locations. and frankly to be blunt, a lot of the information that police are searching for could only come from some of the victims. and of course, that's not possible. so what they are trying to do is go about this in a very methodical way. and any information they get
that is significant will presumably be funneled to the parents first, funneled to family members first, and then come to us in the media. now, one thing we did learn at that first briefing is that they feel they do have some very good evidence that would lead them to understand perhaps the how all this happened if not a deeper understanding of the why. we do know that there also is some question about who it was that went to the school and had that altercation with some adults there, four adults. three of them were killed in the shooting. even fit was adam lanza, the question is then why would he open fire on a classroom full of kindergartners. so there continue to be more questions than answers. and we are just in a waiting pattern to see whether or not officials will come out here at some point this afternoon. but again as i mentioned about an hour and 40 minutes behind when we had expected to hear from the school superintendent. and we're still waiting to hear
obviously that list we were told we would get a written list confirming the names of the victims, alex. >> chris i know when you have new information you'll get right back to us. thanks for that. police did release some new details this morning. as chris was saying, so many questions remain. joining me now investigative reporter jonathan dienst who's been at the forefront of gathering all this information for us. what have you learned, jonathan, about the weapons? what did police say today about any possible motive? >> reporter: motive still unclear as they're trying to piece this together. we did get that picture of the suspect, a recent photo that we got a first good look at him in the last 12 hours or so. and the question now is about weapons. we've heard pete williams say there may have been a couple of extra handguns brought into that school. pete may be a little ahead of me on this. because i've been speaking with some sources up there on the scene. and the number count they still have is two handguns and a rifle in the school and one in the
trunk of the car. i don't have the two additional hand guns. but pete's down in main justice and he may have more than i have at this time. so just a cautionary tale about how fluid this information is. as again it's a huge crime scene both in and around that school as they're trying to piece it all together and police being very slow and methodical in putting out the information as they piece each and every detail together. now again we're learning more about the suspect from that aunt in illinois who they spoke to. she said she hasn't seen adam, the suspect adam lanza, in several years. but she says that he did have some sort of a disabilities and that the family had some issues with the school for some time, that they had to pull the child out and home school him. that according to the aunt and what she told our affiliate in chicago. so it's starting to paint a picture of a very shy, quiet, isolated young man who for some
reason got a hold of the family weapons. now one of the questions that was raised with the aunt out in chicago, why did she have these weapons in the house? if they were hers? the explanation was some sort of survivalist, some sort of concern that something bad may happen and that that family needed to be ready. that's from this aunt who is somewhat distant from the family although she said she was in constant e-mail contact with the family back and forth up until just the day of the shooting. so that's the very latest. it's painting a picture. again everything with a bit of a grain of salt as the investigation continues, the details continue to file in but again it appears to be the actions of that lone gunman who went in with several handguns, opened fire and targeted those children at very close range. >> you know, jonathan, what's interesting that is raising eyebrows is just as you've talked about the aunt saying that the mother was some sort of a survivalist. she felt there was going to be some sort of economic disaster, was preparing for something bad,
felt that it was coming. and you make a good point. this was information offered up by martha lanza, the connection there is that it is the ex-husband of nancy lanza's brother's wife. so there is a certain degree of separation there. you very aptly say we need to take this with a grain of salt at this point. but the confusion over nancy lanza and her connection to the school. why is that so murky? i mean, she's not on the staff lists. >> right. here's how this all went down yesterday. and remember these are police and federal law enforcement responding to a chaotic scene. taking information from many, many witnesses. putting this information together. running out and following these leads. the initial reporting while we get the big picture and law enforcement gets the big picture right, details get messed up. and some things that you think are correct turn out not to be correct as the investigation continues. the best information yesterday early on was that this gunman
went to the school because the mom had either worked as a teacher, a substitute in some sort of role, volunteer at the school. that may not be the case now. the superintendent this morning herself said not a staff employee but may have been a substitute teacher. she said that on "today" show. so murky about what relationship or contact she had with the school. if she had a dispute with the school as this aunt is saying and pulled her kid out of the school, that seems to suggest she was not working there in any capacity given the differences that may have been going on. and again that's something that needs to be sorted out. and that's part of this investigation. but the question that everyone was asking yesterday in terms of law enforcement was, if he got his mom in the house and that was part of the despair or the issue, then why did you go to the school to target those kids? and that seems to be the question that everyone is asking. and especially going after those children at such a close range in the classroom. it's quite disturbing. >> something who knows if we'll ever have the answer to that.
introducing droid dna by htc. it's not an upgrade to your phone. it's an upgrade to yourself. the shooting at sandy hook elementary school has reverberated around the country and the world. here you see this front page headline. from the day in "new london connecticut." it simply reads "unthinkable." capturing the enormity of the attack the. "the har ford currant" quoting from the president's address yesterday "our hearts are broken." from the bakers field with a bold headline "senseless" with a picture of a woman whose whose sister is a teacher at sandy hook. the hamilton journal reads "no safe place" accompanied by the heart-wrenching photograph of some of the children being escorted from the school with their eyes closed.
past the stark front pages you will find renewed debate over guns in america and the price of freedom. joining me now here on the set. joann reid, managing editor of -- i'm awfully glad you're here. joann, we had colorado governor hick enlooper who was saying yesterday that we cannot postpone any further this debate on gun control. that's the executive of a very pro gun state. >> yes. >> so do you think this is the tipping point for whatever reason to finally get something done? >> you know what, i think we keep saying that these events as horrific as they are and as they accelerate are going to be the tipping point. we thought virginia tech would be that. we thought the gabby giffords shooting would be that. we thought the awe rourora shoo would be. but this is an entity that has a strangle hold on our politicians, the national rifle association have a strangle hold on congress people in both
parties. the discussion can't be had because they shut the door before it begins. i think as was done with alec, the group behind the stand your ground laws and voter i.d. laws, they received direct pushback not just the politicians but the entity at the organization. you saw corporations beginning to withdraw from alec out of fear from retribution from consumers. i think people need to turn their attention to the nra. until their strangle hold on our politics is broken there won't be any actual action, there'll just be grief, obviously. >> but you know, you're talking about politicians. these are elected officials certainly. but they are human beings first. they are fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, grandparents and the like. >> right. >> so doesn't that supercede the fact that there are politicians and may be influenced by the nra? don't these people when they're behind closed doors in their rooms and communing with their family about this tragedy, don't you think they think we've got to stop this? >> i'm sure many of them do. but in the function of their job and in the process of trying to
get re-elected, they are given a very simple message from the national rifle association. oppose us and we will defeat you. we will make sure that you lose your job. >> but if everybody shared the thought, if everybody got together and said, this is enough, we have kindergartners, young children that are mowed down senselessly in the prime of innocence and a community, a nation shattered by this. if everybody got on the same page and said, no more. what would that do to the nra's influence? >> i think that's what has to happen. i think there has to be grassroots direction directed at the nra. we are in a country in which murder itself is on the decline, in which you are now safer from one-on-one murder but with spree killing and mass killings are on the rise. 11 of the 20 worst shootings in history have taken place in the united states. the next largest country is finland with just two. five of the 11 of the worst shootings in history in our country have taken place in the last five years.
it's getting worse. and you see states like new york, big states like the one we live, where actual lit intense of these things is going down because gun laws is stricter. ironically in connecticut which has some of the strongest gun laws these things are relatively rare in the southern states like mississippi and louisiana where they have an inordinate amount of these killings, an inordinate amount of multiple person shootings because they have almost no gun laws. the nra is pushing back gun laws everywhere. in ilgauskas, with all the problems you're seeing in chicago their response is we want even looser gun laws. the nra just celebrated the day before this that was what they were tweeting out on the day before this mass killing in connecticut. they haven't changed one iota of that doctrine. people will have to stop being afraid to talk about them directly and publicly because breaking their grip on our politicians is how we get politicians to do what i believe in a lot of their consciences.
>> including you. thank you. the continued search for a motive and the questions about preventing repeat school attacks. i always wait until the last minute. can i still ship a gift in time for christmas? yeah, sure you can. great. where's your gift? uh... whew. [ male announcer ] break from the holiday stress. ship fedex express by december 22nd for christmas delivery. when you give a child a toy, it has to work. ♪ make just one someone happy and when it's a toys for tots child, well, what could be more important? so this year, every hasbro toy donated to toys for tots will be powered by duracell. happy holidays. duracell with duralock. trusted everywhere.
rebuild we are just get thing picture in. between want to show this to you had this is nancy lanza. the mother of the gunman, adam lanza. the authorities say he killed his mother in the home before going to the school and opening fire there. mother of the shooter, who was killed by her son yesterday inside of her home. police say the gunman forced his way into the school on friday as he began the rampage and had been there the day before arguing with school employees. gin me as former fbi agent jeff lanza, we want to point out he is no relation to adam lanza.
security was tight at this school in connecticut. but the gunman was able to get in any way. apparently shooting his way in. is there any way to stop that? >> no place is 100% safe. schools have been in lockdown mode since columbine in terms of the locks and doors they have, buzz-in procedures. that's very important and probably resulted in a lot of people not getting hurt but the problem is, they are never 100% safe. use a gun to break open windows, break open windows other ways, get your hand in and open the door. that's what happened here. no place is 100% secure. >> what about the guns? handguns were found in the school. a rifle in his car. can stronger restrictions on guns prevent these shootings? this opens up the whole gun control debate. where do you stand on that? >> you know, i think -- uncan't make the deaths of these children and the adults to have -- to have less meaning or
no meaning at all. it needs to be a legacy and the legacy is congress and the highest levels of government, i'm talking about highest levels, need to be leaders in this situation. they immediate to revive the ban on assault weapons that expired in 2004, that type of gun used in the colorado shootings. they need to ban outright extended clips for the glocks and other semiautomatic weapons. those clips were use medical the arizona shootings. finally, make it that all people get background investigations whether they are buying a gun at a gun shop or a trade show and dash or some -- some sort of gun show. those three things will go a long way to mitigating this problem and may not have helped what happened yesterday but we are looking out towards the future. >> yeah. as we talk about how to get guns out of the hands of most people, what about the prospects of having armed security officers, police officers, even arming principals in schools? is that an answer until we find
a better solution? >> i think it is a terrible idea. especially arming principals. someone that's bent on committing an act like this can immediately take out anyone that that could be there to protect the students. action is always faster than reaction. i would assume a principal would have a gun under clock and key in a school system and how long does it take them to get that gun out and how long does it take them to respond? they are not going to have a chance. bad idea all around. >> all right. former fbi agent jeff zllanza. again, no relation to adam lanza. our coverage of the sandy hook scoot shooting continues. i will see you tomorrow at noon eastern. nds ] hi, i'm ensure clear... clear, huh? i'm not juice or fancy water. i've got nine grams of protein. that's three times more than me! [ female announcer ] ensure clear. nine grams protein. zero fat. in blueberry/pomegranate and peach.
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